Category Archives: Neighbourhoods

Metro column: Sad end for Japantown’s field of memories

15 June 2009 05:27

Later this week, the Vancouver Canadians baseball team will play its much-anticipated season opener at Nat Bailey Stadium.

Expect the scene to be an upbeat one — from the singing of Take Me Out To The Ball Game to Little Leaguers cheerfully chasing foul balls in the bleachers.

But not far away, in the Downtown Eastside, a far less happy baseball story is being played out.

At Oppenheimer Park, in Vancouver’s old Japantown neighbourhood, the historic playing field of the Asahi baseball team is being demolished. The City of Vancouver is removing the ball diamond as part of its renovation of the park. Continue reading

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Filed under Culture, Environment, Green Space, Heritage, Immigration, Japan, Neighbourhoods, Parks, Politics, Protest, Sports, Vancouver

Metro column: Cycling and transit a winning combination

In case you haven’t heard, Bike to Work Week starts today.

The annual cycling event aims to get more working stiffs out of their carbon-emitting cars and SUVs, and onto eco-friendlier 12-speeds and cruisers instead.

I’ll admit it.

I’ve drunk the cycling lobby’s Kool-Aid.

This spring, I’m captaining a Bike to Work team at my office.

And why not? I could use the exercise and the fresh air. Besides, cycling as a viable form of commuting has come a long way in the Lower Mainland.

Yes, cyclists still have to contend with rampant bike theft, and many routes could be a whole lot safer.

But beyond these points, cycling is an enjoyable, economical and environmentally sensible mode of transport in Metro Vancouver. Continue reading

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Filed under Commuting, Cycling, Environment, Neighbourhoods, Transportation, Urban Planning

Metro column: Community gardens: Utopian and utilitarian

Nearly five years and counting.

That’s how long I’ve been waiting for my patch of communal garden in Metro Vancouver.

A half-decade ago, before the popularity of high-minded movements like organic eating, food security or the 100 Mile Diet, I had registered for a shot at green-thumb glory at the North Shore’s Lower Lonsdale Community Garden.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my enthusiasm for urban agriculture. To my chagrin, it turned out there were no plots available.

So I was told by an organizer that I would be put on a waiting list. And from that queue, annually, a few lucky folks would be selected for garden membership by lottery.

Year after year, I’ve been waiting for some good news about my new patch of green. But it has yet to arrive. Two weeks ago, I found out that, once again, I was a loser in the annual garden plot sweepstakes. I wouldn’t be growing carrots or cucumbers this summer.

It’s not just this one patch, mind you. There are waiting lists for community gardens across Vancouver. The supply of plots just can’t meet the growing demand. Continue reading

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Filed under Environment, Food and Dining, Green Space, Neighbourhoods, Parks, Urban Planning

Trailer parks for the homeless?

Gregory Henriquez, the Vancouver-based architect, isn’t afraid of challenging local defenders of the status quo.

Last year, the principal of Henriquez Partners Architects felt the wrath of some vocal North Vancouver residents, who railed against his proposal for an iconic 40-storey highrise on the sleepy Lower Lonsdale waterfront.

The boobirds eventually got their way, and Henriquez’ design was chased away. Continue reading

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Filed under British Columbia, Culture, Environment, Events, Gentrification, Green Space, Heritage, Immigration, Japan, Neighbourhoods, Nimbies, Parks, Urban Planning

Ambitious North Shore greenway keeps moving forward

Despite the many obstacles it faces — everything from challenging terrain to zoning issues to some predictable Nimbies — the North Shore Spirit Trail connecting Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay continues to make good progress, especially in the City of North Vancouver.

This past February, the first section of the trail, called the Squamish Nation Waterfront Greenway, was opened. For serious seawall enthusiasts, it’s worth taking the Seabus to North Vancouver to have a look. The pathway starts where the walkway running westward from Lonsdale Quay to Waterfront Park left off, and travels through the Mosquito Creek Marina.  Continue reading

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Filed under Commuting, Cycling, Environment, Green Space, Neighbourhoods, Transportation

Metro column: Very different spirits arising over the same trail

16 March 2009

It’s nice to see the growing focus on pedestrian and cycling greenways and trails in Metro Vancouver these days. Local governments are finally responding to demand for transportation choices that are easier on our wallets, and better for our health and environment.

A good example is the North Shore Spirit Trail, a 35-kilometre pathway connecting Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove.

For walking and biking enthusiasts from across the Lower Mainland, the trail promises to be a recreational jewel. Continue reading

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Filed under Cycling, Environment, Green Space, Health, Neighbourhoods, Nimbies, Transportation, Urban Planning

Metro column: Maritime Centre story turns political

Kevin Falcon, B.C.’s Transportation and Infrastructure Minister, will meet with federal counterpart John Baird in Ottawa this week to iron out funding details for a number of stimulus projects slated for British Columbia.

While transportation programs have garnered much of the attention and promised cash to date from senior levels of government, municipalities in Metro Vancouver are putting forth other shovel-ready projects, from housing to hospitals to water treatment facilities.

And then there’s the National Maritime Centre for the Pacific and the Arctic, slated for construction near Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.

The centre promises to be a major cultural attraction, complete with historic artifacts, nautical exhibits, and boat festivals. And it is considered key in revitalizing the historic Lower Lonsdale waterfront area. It also has the potential to become a tourism showpiece for the region. Continue reading

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Filed under Culture, Heritage, Neighbourhoods, Politics, Tourism, Transportation